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Transition from School to Work
OVR Programs and Services

Any high school student with a disability who may need vocational guidance and assistance in preparing for, obtaining, or maintaining competitive employment should be considered for referral to the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). Students who have an Individualized Educational Program (IEP), a 504 Plan, or who are involved with a school's Student Assistance Program may be appropriate referrals to OVR.
Ideally, students should be referred two years prior to graduation, although referrals can be made earlier when appropriate. Students with a significant visual impairment can be referred to the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services at any time. Technical assistance may be provided on behalf of students with disabilities with regard to Transition at any age without a formal referral.
A referral to OVR can be made by anyone, including the student, a family member or school/agency personnel. Students under the age of 18 must have parent/guardian permission to become involved with OVR services.
At the time of the initial referral, OVR will need the following information about the student to facilitate the application process:
  • Student's name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Gender
  • Statement of disability
For additional information about specialized programs for students with disabilities, check out the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.
To apply for OVR services, please contact the OVR District Office that serves your county or apply for services online via the PA CareerLink's Job Seeker Registration Page.


A student does not officially become an OVR customer until he/she completes an application for services and a personal intake interview occurs with an OVR counselor.
Following receipt of the OVR Employment Planning Application, an OVR counselor will initiate contact with the student and his/her family to schedule an initial interview. The student's disability and how the disability may affect his/her ability to work will be discussed. Students and families should be prepared to provide the following information during the intial interview:
  • Comprehensive medical history related to the student's disability. This includes (if applicable):
    • Names and addresses of doctors and specialists
    • Hospital admissions
    • List of medications
    • Previous treatment records
    • Psychological/Mental Health records
    • Drug & Alcohol history
  • Educational history
  • Employment history, including volunteer and unpaid work experience, if applicable
After the student has met with the OVR Counselor for the initial interview, OVR will need the following information from school records:*
  • Documentation of the student's disability including available medical and psychological reports with diagnoses and functional limitations
  • Current IEP including the Transition Plan, the Multi-Disciplinary Evaluation (MDE), and the Comprehensive Evaluation Report (CER) including any recent formal psychological testing
  • Formal and informal vocational assessments
  • Information about the student's interests, abilities, aptitudes, learning style, strengths and needs, as they relate to his/her employability (e.g., teachers' classroom observations, a description of the student's involvement in school to work activities, community- based assessment, work experience, portfolios, etc.).
* This information may also be submitted at the time of referral or application with a signed "Release of Information."


OVR's program is based on eligibility for services and is not an entitlement program. A student must be determined to be eligible by an OVR Counselor. The counselor must first determine that the student has a diagnosed disability, and that the student's disability substantially interferes with his/her ability to prepare for, obtain or maintain employment. Finally, there must be a demonstrated need for OVR services in order for the student to successfully pursue or retain employment.
Only an OVR Counselor, who has special training and experience, can determine if a student is eligible for OVR services. Existing records (medical, psychological, vocational, etc.), staff observations, family input and student self-evaluation will help the OVR Counselor make an eligibility determination.